University of California System ( UC System)

They are considered to be first-class research universities in the USA and belong to the Public Ivies – those state universities that are named in the same breath as the private elite universities of the Ivy League. We are talking about the universities of the University of California Systems (UC System). Alongside the California State University System (CSU), this association is California’s second state university system. The member universities of both associations are among the country’s most renowned universities and are internationally renowned.

Facts about the University of California System

The University of California initially consisted of ten faculty members and 38 students. Today, the University of California System has more than 238,000 students and 190,000 employees. The university association consists of

  • ten universities
  • five medical centres
  • three national laboratories.

Numerous museums, concert halls, art galleries, botanical gardens and sea centres are also part of the UC system.

All member universities have been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) – an indication of the high quality standards that prevail at Californian universities. The universities of the UC system attract students with study programmes from more than 150 academic disciplines. Nine of the ten universities offer undergraduate and graduate level programs. Around 600 different graduate programs alone are available.

History of the University of California

The foundation stone for the UC system was laid in 1862 with the Morrill Act. The law was the reason for the founding wave of so-called Land Grant Universities. It offered the US states the opportunity to sell public land and use the proceeds to found universities.

Subsequently, the Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College was founded in California in 1866. The college lacked land, the private College of California, which had been founded a few years earlier, lacked money for regular operation.

Therefore, the College of California proposed to the state that the two universities merge under one condition: This was to result in a „complete university“ at which humanities as well as agricultural and engineering disciplines such as mechanics or mining were taught. The contract to found the University of California System was signed on March 23,1868.

Special Features of the University of California System

At the University of California, research has traditionally played a major role. The UC is known nationally and internationally for its research strength. Six of the ten universities are members of the Association of American Universities, an association of Canada’s and the USA’s major research universities. The professors at the University of California are often renowned experts in their field who in many cases conduct internationally visible research.

The high quality of research in the UC system is also reflected elsewhere. The member universities regularly have top positions in internationally important university rankings, such as for example

  • the Academic Ranking of World Universities
  • the QS World University Rankings
  • the Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • the U. S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings.

The University of California System has already produced more than 60 Nobel Prize winners, mainly in the categories of physics and chemistry.

UC System Transfer Agreement with Community Colleges

The UC system has another special feature: the Transfer Admission Guarantee. Six of the ten UC locations have a transfer agreement with the Californian community colleges. Students earning an Associate Degree from a community college in California can then transfer to a bachelor’s degree at a UC System university.

A prerequisite for the change is that students meet the specific application requirements of the university and the course of study. With an Associate Degree, students can obtain one of the coveted study places at a UC campus.

The University of California Extension

A unique selling point of the University of California System is the University of California Extension. The term summarizes the continuing education institutions of the individual universities of the UC system. The UC Extension is one of the world’s largest providers of continuing education and offers the widest selection of continuing education programs for international students. Around 17,000 courses are offered throughout the year.

Within the framework of the UC Extension, specially developed study programmes are offered which are primarily aimed at professionals with a university degree. The range of courses on offer includes

  • Postgraduate courses: They enable students with a Bachelor’s degree to obtain targeted further qualification in a specific subject area.
  • Continuing education programs: The participants acquire new knowledge in a specific field within several weeks.
  • U. S. semester programs, summer sessions and some language courses: At some member universities, the UC Extension is also responsible for supervising and carrying out these study programmes. This is due to the fact that the institutes usually have the greatest amount of experience in working with international students.

Universities of the University of California System

Anyone considering studying abroad at the University of California is spoilt for choice: ten first-class universities are available within the University of California System – from comparatively small institutions with a typical college atmosphere to large universities in suburbs of metropolises such as Los Angeles or San Diego.

University of California Berkeley

The UC Berkeley is the oldest campus of the UC System and one of the hallmarks of the university network. The university is one of the world’s most prestigious universities and regularly occupies top positions in internationally renowned rankings. In the U. S. News & World Report 2015, for example, it was ranked third among the world’s best universities, directly behind Harvard University and MIT.

The university can also boast a number of superlatives: 14 colleges and schools are located at the university. The UC Berkeley has one of the largest library systems in the country with over ten million volumes. There are more than 1200 student organizations on campus and there are currently seven Nobel Prize winners at the university. Service is capitalized here.

University of California Davis

UC Davis has one of the world’s leading agricultural and environmental science research and teaching institutions and one of the five UC Medical Schools.

The UC Davis is a typical small town university. Students make up half the population of Davis and are a permanent fixture in the city life. In addition, the UC Davis is considered to be one of the „most bicycle-friendly universities“ in the USA. In the student city, everything can be easily reached by bicycle.

University of California Irvine

The UC Irvine combines the advantages of a large research university with the pleasant atmosphere of a small college. UCI’s generously sized campus is located in the famous Orange County in southern California. Thanks to the university’s central location, students can quickly reach nearby surf beaches and find wonderful cycle paths and hiking trails in the vicinity.

The UCI has made a name for itself above all in neuroscientific research and atmospheric research. The outstanding quality in research and teaching at the UCI is regularly awarded. For four years in a row, the university ranks among the top 10 of the „100 best universities under 50 years of age“ in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

University of California Los Angeles

UCLA is the largest and second oldest location of the University of California System and one of America’s most prestigious universities. The variety of subjects at UCLA is immense. Each year around 5,000 courses are offered at the university. The UCLA Summer Sessions alone offer over 700 courses to choose from. UCLA’s research programme is also remarkable. The university has about 5000 ongoing research projects.

UCLA’s campus is as large as a city in its own. The campus offers a wide range of catering facilities, sports stadiums and a wide range of sports facilities. Even a wooded park is located on the campus and invites you to take a walk.

UCLA is also one of the universities with the greatest ethnic diversity in the world. And the city centre of the multicultural metropolis of LA is less than ten kilometres from UCLA.

University of California Merced

The youngest university of the UC system is the UC Merced. The University opened its doors in autumn 2005, making it the first American research university of the 21st century. The UC Merced is located near the famous Yosemite National Park, which is perfect for hiking, climbing and camping.

Research also plays an important role at UC Merced. Interdisciplinary work and interactive learning are regarded as very important. Sustainability is also a key issue at UC Merced. All buildings on the campus are LEED certified. One of the university’s goals is to reduce CO2 emissions in the future by increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

University of California Riverside

Small courses, helpful professors and a strong commitment to research distinguish the UC Riverside. Even undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in existing research projects.

The UC Riverside enjoys a good reputation in the USA. In 2014, Time Magazine selected the university as the best university in the country based on graduate rates, student affordability and student funding.

The university’s other highlights include the almost 500 hectares of campus with one of the country’s largest scientific libraries. The UC Riverside also scores points with its location on the edge of the Box Springs Mountains. Not only outdoor enthusiasts will get their money’s worth.

University of California San Diego

Founded in 1959, the UCSD has managed to develop into a world-class research university within a few decades.

Each of the six colleges has its own programme, establishes individual application requirements and provides its own accommodation for students – similar to the British elite schools of Oxford and Cambridge. The advantage is that the learning groups are smaller and the support of the students is more closely meshed. In addition, the UCSD is the campus of the UC system with the most international semester students at Bachelor level.

The fact that the UCSD is at an international top level is also reflected in the consistently outstanding ranking results. Five Nobel Prize winners are currently doing research at the university. The fact that the USCD’s research centres for natural sciences, engineering and medicine are among the ten largest in the country also speaks for itself.

University of California San Francisco

The UCSF is the only campus of the University of California System dedicated exclusively to health sciences and medicine. It is therefore not surprising that one of the world’s leading biomedical centers is located at the UC San Francisco. The university’s four professional schools – dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy – are among the best in the country. They include the list of U. S. News Best Graduate Schools 2016.

UC San Francisco is fully focused on graduate education, offering nearly 20 doctoral programs and ten master’s degree programs.

University of California Santa Barbara

The UC Santa Barbara is located off the beaten track and directly on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The surrounding countryside invites you to all imaginable outdoor activities. A more comfortable study environment is hardly desirable. The atmosphere in the courses is also pleasant. Many professors already work with students at Bachelor level in the laboratory or on special research projects.

According to the U. S. News and World Report 2016, UCSB is considered one of the best state universities in the USA. It is also a pioneer in interdisciplinary research. The interdisciplinary orientation is also reflected in the range of studies offered by the UC Santa Barbara. For example, semester students can choose between studying philosophy with a focus on ethics and public policy or chemical engineering with a focus on computational science and engineering.

University of California Santa Cruz

Surrounded by tall redwood trees and situated not far from the Pacific coast, the UC Santa Cruz is located. Campus life at the university is characterised by a relaxed and familiar atmosphere. Nevertheless, students enjoy all the advantages of a large research university.

At the UC Santa Cruz is researching the most pressing problems of our time. Scientists look for policy responses to financial crises, develop assistive technologies for people with disabilities, and contribute to the fight against diseases such as AIDS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the university has been awarded the highest research impact in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings on several occasions.